HEBER CITY —  It’s always exciting when a new company puts on their opening show. The energy in the room is palpable as if we have all shared something special together. Such was my experience at the first production of The Wedding Singer in the newly renovated Ideal Playhouse in Heber. It wasn’t without flaws but those in the Heber area can see a wonderful, heartfelt show and support a promising new theatre.

The Wedding Singer is based on the 1998 film starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymoore and it has music by Matthew Sklar, lyrics by Chad Beguelin, book by Beguelin and Tim Herlihy. Practically every new musical is based on a movie these days but this is one I’ve long found to be underrated. Maybe it’s the lack of romantic comedies lately on Broadway but the story and characters are so charming and the songs by Sklar and Beguelin are really catchy. It takes all the winning parts of the movie and makes it even better with memorable songs and jokes. What more could you ask for in a screen to stage adaptation?

Ideal Playhouse presented a young and energetic cast with Ryan Morley playing Robbie Hart and Keely Conrad as Julia Sullivan. I really appreciate Morley plays his own guitar throughout the production and he sang all of his songs with an earnestness that was very natural and appealing. It’s easy with Robbie to try and imitate Sandler but I didn’t feel that with his performance. Conrad also has the sweet and bubbly energy that you need for Julia. She gets the best song of the musical with “Someday” which has such a memorable hook and really draws you into the lyrics and music.

The Wedding Singer ; 2024 ; Ideal Playhouse ; Wasatch County ; Musical

The Wedding Singer Plays at Ideal Playhouse through June 8.

I also really enjoyed Taytum Jane Lingman as Holly. She plays the best friend character in this rom-com and her voice is probably the strongest of the entire cast particularly in “Right in Front of Your Eyes.” She’s an actress with good comic timing and her interactions with Conrad and Parker Wilcox’s Sammy are a lot of fun.

At the end of the musical there is a group of impersonators playing Cyndi Lauper, Billy Idol, Pat Benatar, Ronald Reagan and more and they were very well done and led to some good laughs. I particularly liked the hair design on the ”Fake Cyndy Lauper” played by Ashley Bates. Sara Tuttles’s choreography drew on iconic moves of the 80s and added a lot to the show.

There were some opening night hiccups with the microphones the night I saw the show but for the most part it was technically strong show. I enjoyed the projections that went throughout the theater beyond the stage (lighting by Maddie Diedrichs.) They also had convincing 80s fashion from costume designer Katrina Crage with hair/makeup/wigs by Nicole Cable. The production was directed by Steve Anderson and he clearly put a lot of effort into making the cast feel natural around each other and develop convincing chemistry. Something that is so essential in a romantic comedy.

The Wedding Singer ; 2024 ; Ideal Playhouse ; Wasatch County ; Musical

Of course any rom-com has to have the wrong guy and he is named Glen Guglia in this musical and he was played by Jeff Busath with swarmy swagger. His big song is called “All About the Green” and it makes us as an audience want Julia to have nothing to do with this guy! I also really like “Come Out of the Dumpster” where Julia tries to get Robbie literally out of the dumpster he is in from destroying a wedding he was supposed to sing at. Set design for the dumpster was cleverly done considering the small stage by Dave Bates.

While I did enjoy the production of The Wedding Singer at Ideal Playhouse it struck me as more of an arts council type of production rather than the semi-professional prices they are charging for seats. For community theater the singing and spectacle were enjoyable but for over $30 I expect a little bit more polish in both departments.  I am sure they will evaluate how their ticket sales were after this production but it would be nice if it was something the community could more easily support than the current prices may allow. It seemed high for what was being offered but the crowd was energetic and invested so that’s always fun.

Nevertheless it’s a strong start for a new theater company and I hope as many people as possible can see this breath of fresh air on stage in Heber.

 THE WEDDING SINGER plays at Ideal Playhouse (113 N. Main Street, Heber City) through June 8. More information can be found at https://www.hebervalleyentertainment.com/